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– Crepes aren’t just for dessert folks. That’s what Dewey Truong, owner of Chococrepe wants you to know. Yes, they are paper thin, but they aren’t as one dimensional when it comes to their meal potential. Walking into the Queen West restaurant on a hot summer day, the last thing that I wanted to eat for lunch was a Nutella and chocolate smeared crepe, so it’s a good thing there was so much more on the menu.
Don’t let the name fool you. At Chococrepe, the menu is divided into savoury and sweet options. So yes, they do offer the obligatory Nutella crepe along with a slew of other sinfully sweet creations, but they also have an impressive selection of crepes with fillings usually associated with sandwiches or wraps.
To start off we had the Pesto ($9.25) which came with egg, mozzarella , pesto and arugula served on a buckwheat crepe. Now I’m not an eggs anytime of the day person as I lump them into the breakfast only category, so this probably wouldn’t be my go to crepe, but it was tasty nevertheless. The egg was fluffy, the pesto made its presence known without stealing the show, and arugula is never a bad idea.
All of the savoury menu items come served on buckwheat crepes which are a bit similar to whole wheat wraps in their texture and consistency. Despite the name though, it’s interesting to note that buckwheat is gluten free, so while I can’t speak for the filling, the crepe itself is a good option for those who are at least sensitive to gluten.
To round out our savoury options we tried the Country and the Chipotle Chicken (both $9.25). The Country comes stuffed with cheddar and punctuated with wood-smoked bacon and caramelized pear. I’m not even a huge fan of bacon (I know…sorry) but I loved this crepe. The saltiness of the cheddar, the smokiness of the bacon and the sweetness of the pear blended so nicely into a ménage a trois of flavour. (What? It’s French…like crepes…)
The Chipotle Chicken though, with a generous amount of tender chicken breast, mozzarella, arugula, and chipotle mayo, might have been the winner, but I like anything that comes served with a side of heat.
At this point it’s fair to say we were beyond full, and I was convinced that yes, crepes could be lunch, but it wouldn’t be fair of us to ignore the dessert crepes completely. So we tried two. The Berry Banana ($8.75) is the Platonic ideal of a dessert crepe. Covered with sliced strawberries and bananas, then drizzled with dark and white chocolate, it looks like art (think Jackson Pollock). This crepe had a nice balance of tart, thanks to the strawberries, and sweet, thanks to everything else.
Our last crepe of the day came in the form of Crunchy Pear ($8.50), also beautiful in design with sliced Bosch pears, a generous sprinkling of crushed almonds, and painted with milk chocolate, it was a bit sweeter than the Berry Banana due in part to the milk chocolate, but won in the texture category.
All of the dessert crepes here are made with the typical sweetened wheat flour and served open-face which gives diners the artistic license to fold, roll, or just dive in as is. And it just looks prettier.
Oh, and I should mention that all of the crepes are huge, taking up plates that are larger than your average plate. My suggestion is to bring a friend, or two, and sample multiple crepes like we did.
Did I forget to mention the hot chocolate? Oh yes, we sampled a couple. They take their hot chocolate seriously here at Chococrepe. All flavours are made with melted Valhrona chocolate and you can have your choice of having it made with dark or milk chocolate (and in some cases, white) and with cream or milk. We really wanted to try the popular Fleur de Sel Dulce de Leche made with dark chocolate, but sadly it was unavailable, so we went with the Pumpkin and the Coconut. The Pumpkin ($5.95) was made with milk chocolate, so as not to overpower the spice and milk instead of its heavier counterpart. It was tasty, but I would liken it more to a chai latte than a hot chocolate.
The Coconut (also $5.95) however, made with white chocolate and cream was something else. It was rich without being cloyingly sweet and the coconut flavour came through nicely. I can definitely see myself going back for one of these once the temperature starts to drop, but if you’re craving one now, Truong just installed a brand new air-conditioning system that he’s very proud of.
I would also be remiss not to comment on the excellent service at Chococrepe. Truong himself is a living doll, and he goes out of his way to make your experience at Chococrepe a memorable one. He obviously loves what he is doing, and says that he wants eating at his restaurant to be a comfortable and social experience, not to mention a delicious one. Check, check, and check.
Footnote: Why doesn’t the saying go “as flat as a crepe”? Let’s face it, in comparison, the crepes pancake cousin from the West has a bit of a weight problem.
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